The summer is fast approaching, which means a 6-week long break for our children. For them, it's a break from homework and a time to replenish their energy. For you, it's a chance to make summer memories and spend quality time with your kids. If you've been looking for some ideas to fill the 6 weeks, we're here to help!
1. Go to a town centre event
Throughout the summer holidays, there's a whole host of free events to attend in the town centre. From the ever popular Darlington By The Sea to the family Pride in the Park picnic, there's something for everyone. Take a look at the full schedule on our What's On page to start planning your trip.
2. Get a strike at DC Bowl
Did you know there's a bowling alley in the Dolphin Centre? With lanes bookable for up to 6 people, you can enjoy a game or two with the whole family! You can also order food and drinks to enjoy whilst you play, so this is a great activity to book in for the summer holidays. Find more info on the DC Bowl website.
3. Visit a local park
There are so many parks for a day out in Darlington. There's South Park, which has a fantastic playground and bird aviary. There's West Park, which is loved by dog walkers for its meandering paths, but also those who love a treasure hunt to find hidden sculptures. There's also Stanhope Park that's right next door to the town centre, so you can tie in some shopping too, and The Denes, which links six green spaces to form a park that stretches 1.5km along the river.
4. See what's on at the theatre
We're lucky to have several theatres in Darlington, all of which have a variety of shows and events on throughout the summer holidays. The Darlington Hippodrome have a range of family-friendly shows and film screenings, as well as shows that parents and carers will enjoy on an evening out. The smaller scale Majestic Theatre also has some great choices, including some summer pantos. Theatre Hullabaloo are all about bringing theatre experiences to children aged 0-16, so their summer events are ideal for keeping kids entertained.
5. Book a trip to a play space
If your little one loves getting hands on, they'll love one of the many play spaces in Darlington. Theatre Hullabaloo often have a free play space that anyone can visit, CuriosiTeas offers very low entry prices to spend time in the play cafe, and Hartbeeps have a vast range of baby and toddler classes and groups. By taking your little ones to one of these spots, they can learn and play in a safe and fun environment.
6. Visit Piercebridge Roman Fort and Bridge
If you head to Piercebridge past High Coniscliffe, you can park up near The George and find the ruins of an old Roman bridge. These ruins show where the river used to be thousands of years ago! And if you take a 10 minute walk to the other side of the river, you'll be able to see the foundations and ditches of the fort. There are information boards dotted around to give you an idea of how the fort might have looked and how big it could've been, so this is a great look into the history of the area.
7. Check out Archer's Ice Cream
There's no better time for an ice cream cone or two than during the summer holidays, so get Archer's Ice Cream on your list of sunny day activities in Darlington. You'll find this spot at New Moor Farm, Walworth Road, DL2 2UD where you can enjoy delicious, award-winning ice cream from the free range Jersey cows. This third generation family run farm takes a lot of pride in what they do, so you can only expect the best quality and flavours (and plenty of them!).
8. Escape from Cluedini
Why not get the whole family or a group of your child's friends together to try out an escape room? Cluedini has three game rooms to try, including an ancient Egypt-themed room that invites you to enter a tomb and find the Golden Ankh. This spot is a lot of fun and a really great idea if you're looking to do something different over the summer holidays.
9. Hit the shops in the town centre
Darlington town centre is bursting with gorgeous independent and big name shops. Whether you're looking for something new to wear, some home decor, something to read or a snack, there's a shop that can help you out. Make sure your kids bring their pocket money to spend! Take a look down the yards and wynds for incredible independents, and try Queen Street and the Cornmill Centre for high street favourites.
10. Do a trail
People of all ages love a trail, whether they're educational or just for fun. There are several trails to do in Darlington, including the Heritage Trail, which takes you around the town centre to learn about the history of each site. There's also the Darlington Circular trail as part of the Stockton & Darlington Railway walking routes, that shows you significant points in Darlington's railway history.
If you'd like a trail that's a little more child-focused, you can take a look at the Huntee website. With Huntee, you can create a free account to access fun and immersive digital trails across the North East and there's a great trail in South Park! There are clues to answer, things to find and ways to explore that'll help you to complete the trail.
So what will you get up to over the summer school holidays in Darlington? Use this handy list to plan your trip and explore our other articles for more inspiration.